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History of Mycotoxin Research and Education in Japan


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History of Mycotoxin Research and Education in Japan

As early as the 1890s in Japan, with the aim of establishing the role of gmoldy riceh in the beriberi, certain moldy rice samples were subjected to toxicity tests, and proved to be neurotoxic to rabbits, suggesting the presence of a mycotoxin (Sakaki, 1893). Later, a toxic fungus, Penicillium toxicarium Miyake (= P. citreo-viride) was discovered from the so-called gyellow riceh imported to Japan and in domestic rice samples (Miyake, 1938). Citreoviridin was newly found from the fungus (Hirata, 1947), and a series of toxicological experiments was carried out by Uraguchi et al. (1947-55). The authors concluded that there was close resemblance between the experimental symptoms and clinical manifestations of acute cardiac beriberi reported earlier in man by pathologists and doctors in Japan and abroad. In 1948, P. islandicum Sopp and its mycotoxins luteoskyrin and cyclochlorotine, were found in the hepatotoxic yellowed rice distributed widely throughout the rice-producing countries of the world. In addition, P. citrinum Thom, producing citrinin, was isolated from the nephrotoxic yellowed rice found in Southeast Asia. Thus, it should be emphasized that early work in Japan represented the first systematic mycotoxicological research performed in the world.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has a program for mycotoxin education in food safety (mycotoxin course). JICA provides general knowledge, analytical techniques, mycotoxin precautions for 3 months. Emeritus professor Takumi Yoshizawa (Kagawa University), formar president of our association, established this course and many society fellows support this course as teachers.

Last Update: 2011/06/03
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